Major labour strikes that shook the automobile industry
If demand slump comes in auto industry, can labour woes be far behind? Mahindra and Mahindra witnessed its second labour strike in less than a month at its Igtapuri plant near Nashik on Friday.
Passenger car sales growth rate plunged to a 12-year low in February, registering a 25.71% decline as high fuel prices, interest rates and low consumer sentiments took a toll.
Here’s a quick look at some of the major upheavals in the auto sector:
1. July 2012 : Maruti’s Manesar plant was hit by violence as workers at one of its auto factories attacked supervisors and started a fire that killed a company official and injured 100 managers, including two Japanese expatriates. The violent mob also injured nine policemen.[ The company’s General Manager of Human Resources had both arms and legs broken by his attackers, unable to leave the building that was set ablaze, and was charred to death. The incident is the worst-ever for Suzuki since the company began operations in India in 1983. The company dismissed 500 workers accused of causing the violence and re-opened the plant on 21 August
Production Loss: Operation at less than 10% of its capacity and a loss of Rs 1 billion a day
Honda Motors & Scooters India (HMSI)
2. Dec 2010: On 17th Dec 2010 a security personnel at the Honda factory misbehaved with a temporary worker. In response temporary workers – not represented by the union- went on a wildcat strike, which brought production to a halt. The strike lasted for about
24 hours until the management intervened.
Production loss : An estimated Rs 7 crore
3. Oct 2009 : A three month old ‘go-slow’ agitation by workers at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India plant at Gurgaon after the expiry of the agreement with the management signed in September 2006.
Production loss: Rs 300 crore or almost half of its capacity of 4,200 units a day for 3 months
4. April 2006 : Production at domestic two-wheeler major Hero Honda’s Gurgaon plant was severely hit following a strike by contract workers, demanding regularisation of services and higher pay.
Production loss: An estimated Rs 100 crore
5. June 2005: Trouble began for the management when workers asked for higher wages to be in par with those of the shop floor workers in Hero Honda. The protests followed for about 6 months of simmering labour unrest, where workers also resorted to job slowdown. In July 2005 a violent tussle broke out between the workers and the police and claimed several lives including those who were protesting peacefully. Over 150 people were seriously injured in clash between the police and agitating workers
Production loss: An estimated Rs 130 crore
6. Oct 2012: Workers at Hyundai India’s Sriperumbudur started manufacturing vehicles at slower pace to display solidarity with the temporary workers that the auto major employed to handle the logistics functions. Meanwhile the logistics workers were striking work to press on 41 demand charter that they have given to the Hyundai management. Models such as the Verna Fluidic and the i10 Fluidic, both having huge demand during the festive season were hit hard.
Production loss : At least 60 cars
7. June 2010: Workers led by CITU-affiliated Hyundai Motor India Employees Union (HMIEU) threw production out of gear, and disrupted the company’s local and overseas marketing plans. Production at Chennai came to a halt after workers went on sit-in strike demanding reinstatement of all the 67 dismissed workers and recognition to the union
Production loss: An estimated 65 crore loss or 7,600 units over 2 days
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M)
8. April 2013: following the suspension of two workers on disciplinary grounds workers at the engine making plant at Igatpuri went on a tool down strike. The plant produces 1,100 engines per day in three shifts for Mahindra’s vehicles such as XUV 500, Bolero, Xylo, Genio and Maxximo
Production loss : 3000 units so far
9. March 2013 : A tool down strike began at Mahindra & Mahindra ‘s automotive plant at Nashik in Maharashtra following differences over wage negotiations and suspension of few workers
Production loss: Rs 80 crore or 500 units of Bolero, Xylo and Scorpio were lost
10. May 2009 : Workers at the Satpur plant of M&M went to protest the suspension of union leader Madhavrao Dhatrak on disciplinary grounds. The strike lasted almost a fortnight and hampered production work in the plant causing losses to the tune of crores to the auto major. Finally the Nashik industrial court had to intervene calling the strike illegal and ordered the strike to be called off within 48 hours.
Production loss: Rs 325 crores or 6000 units over 13 days
11. October 2010: Production at tyre major MRF’s three manufacturing plants in Arakonam, Puducherry and Tiruvottiyur was hit after employees struck , demanding end to contract labour, among other things.
Production loss : More than 1 lakh units a day combining all three plants
Source : Business Standard.